On this week’s episode of Chicago Stories, Mayor Emanuel had the privilege to be joined by Nashone Greer-Adams, the founder and executive director of Little Angels Learning Center in Englewood to talk about the importance of early-education, serving the whole family, and her plans for the future.
Both Nashone’s personal story and her story as an educator began in the same place: her mother’s home. Raised in Chicago’s South Side, Nashone developed her passion for education at an early age while working with her mother, who herself was an child-educator.
As Nashone told Mayor Emanuel, the strongest pull towards education however came from her desire to help children express themselves freely, which was borne out of her own sense of being misunderstood as a young person. After graduating from Olive Harvey Community College and National Louis University, Nashone embarked on starting a school of her own.
“The particular church where we are housed now--they had a school there. That school was in the process of being closed down,” Nashone said. “The pastor told another pastor, we went over to visit, had a conversation with them, and it grew from there.”
And with that, Little Angels Learning Center was born.
For all of Nashone’s success with her students, she counts her success with parents and servicing the whole family as among her proudest achievements. “We were able to identify early on that we were servicing the children…but then we had to have the parents to understand the value in that,” Nashone said. “That’s the critical part and to me that’s the part that I love and is most dearest to my heart.”
For the children, it’s led to tremendous success on every measure. For example, every Little Angels Learning Center preschooler for the last eight years have entered selective enrollment schools, an achievement due as much to working with parents as it has been working with the children.
Today, Nashone and the entire Little Angels Learning Center family are looking to the future.
After operating out of a shared space in Alpha Temple Church for the last 15 years, they are busy raising money to build their first dedicated facility on land purchased through Chicago’s Large Lots Program for $1.
Be sure to tune in to the entire episode as Mayor Emanuel and Nahone also talk about how to make working with the government easier, her take on the best way to phase in universal pre-kindergarten in Chicago, and much more.
This past week, Mayor Emanuel announced plans to implement universal full-day pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, starting with an expansion for an additional 3,700 children next school year in CPS. Access to universal full-day pre-kindergarten will roll out more each year over the next four years, prioritizing communities with the most children in need. By the Fall of 2012, pre-kindergarten will be universal for all 4-year-olds in Chicago.